April 2011 Tornadoes

This information is for archival purposes only. The information is written in the present tense because it is an aggregate of the messages put out by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety at the time of the disaster.

On April 16, 2011 the largest tornado outbreak in state history swept across central and eastern North Carolina impacted more than 30 counties, claimed 24 lives, injured 133 people, destroyed and damaged thousands of homes and businesses.

Tornado Recovery – By the Numbers  (as of July 26,2011)

Damage Overview

  • 28 - tornadoes that swept across central and eastern NC on April 16
  • 24 - people killed by the tornadoes (12-Bertie, 4- Wake, 4-Bladen,
    2-Lee, 1-Cumberland, 1- Harnett)
  • 133 - people injured seriously enough to require transport to hospital

Recovery Assistance

  • 20 counties approved for federal disaster assistance for individuals/businesses
  • 18 counties approved for federal disaster assistance for local governments and certain non-profits
  • 9,727- people registered with FEMA for state & federal assistance
  • 4,679 - residents visited Disaster Recovery Centers between April 21 - June 4. DRCs are operated jointly by FEMA and NCEM with support from SBA
  • 6,195 - damaged homes already inspected and paperwork sent to FEMA
  • 45- damaged homes awaiting inspections

  • More than $20 million approved in federal disaster assistance grants for homeowners and renters in 20 counties
          o $7.8 million in grants sent to survivors (of which $5.6 million was for housing assistance and $2.2 million was for other needs assistance)
          o $12.3 million approved in SBA loans (to help 260 homeowners and 30 business owners)
  • 16,190 - number of residents reached by FEMA/NCEM Community Relations teams working in 19 designated counties.
  • 3678 - number of businesses contacted by FEMA/NCEM CR teams
  • 1,125 - number of faith-based organizations reached by FEMA/NCEM CR teams
  • 1,404 - number of community-based organizations reached by FEMA/NCEM CR teams

Numbers for Help

  • 800-621-FEMA (3362) – number to register for disaster assistance
  • 888-835-9966 – Governor's Hotline for donations, volunteers and recovery questions
  • 877-841-8617 – Disaster Unemployment Assistance
  • 800-662-7030 – Crisis counseling


Aid for Business Owners

The Small Business and Technology Development Center is working with NC Emergency Management, FEMA, the Small Business Administration and local governments to help business owners in the storm-impacted counties recover from the April 16 tornadoes.  For more information, visit www.sbtdc.org/disaster.


Beware of Scammers

Attorney General Roy Cooper warns consumers to watch out for scams related to recent tornadoes and storms and to report suspicious activity to his office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM (toll free within the state) or by filing a consumer complaint at www.ncdoj.gov.

The vast majority of contractors, tree removal companies and car repair shops in North Carolina are good business people, and many local merchants pitch in to help their community recover from disaster. However, some unscrupulous people travel to areas that have been hit by natural disasters to take advantage of consumers, Cooper warned.



Assistance for Families, Individuals and Business Owners

Survivors can register for help by:

  • Registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Calling toll-free to 800-621-FEMA (3362) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Applying for federal assistance directly through their web enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones. Visit m.fema.gov and follow the link to www.disasterassistance.gov to apply for federal assistance.
  • Visiting a local Disaster Recovery Center.

Financial Assistance can be used for:

  • Housing - homeowners and renters receive funds to rent a different place to live.
  • Repair - homeowners receive grants to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance.
  • Other needs assistance - grants for necessary and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage and other expenses that FEMA approves. The homeowner may need to apply for an SBA loan before receiving this type of assistance.

FEMA can't duplicate payments. If a loss is covered by another source, such as insurance, or is taken care of by a volunteer group, donation or gift, FEMA cannot pay for that cost again. Duplicate payments are prohibited by law.

What to do

  • Renters or homeowners who suffered any damage or loss should apply for assistance. There is no need to wait for an insurance inspection.
  • Before survivors call or go online, they should gather the following basic information:
    • Social Security number;
    • Telephone number where applicant can be reached;
    • Address of the damaged property;
    • Current mailing address;
    • Brief description of disaster-related damages and losses;
    • Insurance information; and
    • Direct deposit information.
  • If an inspection is needed to determine eligibility, the inspector will usually make an appointment within five days.
  • Survivors can clean up before the inspection. They should take pictures of the damage and property that had to be removed.
  • If survivors were displaced from their home and incurred hotel expenses, or purchased clean-up or repair materials, they should save those receipts because these MAY be eligible for reimbursement.
  • All applicants will receive a letter from FEMA regarding their request for federal assistance.

Assistance for Local Governments and Certain Non-Profits

  • Local governments and certain non-profit organizations can seek federal funding assistance to cover 75 percent of the costs of emergency protective measures (such as additional law enforcement, emergency response and public transportation), debris removal and repairs to critical public facilities. The remaining share will be covered by the state.
  • 18 counties have been authorized for Public Assistance through FEMA. Those counties include: Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wilson.
  • An applicant briefing will be held in each county for the local officials, non-profit organizations, schools and other public entities to discuss the public assistance program. At that time, each entity fills out a request for public assistance. Once the documentation is turned in, a kickoff meeting will be held. with FEMA, N.C. Emergency Management and the applicants to discuss damages and their efforts in recovery.
  • So far, Category A – Debris Removal and Category B- Emergency Protective Measures are the only approved categories. NCEM hopes to add other categories as more damages are documented.
  • Counties that were not included in the federal disaster declaration, but who believe they have incurred substantial damages from which they cannot recover, can request a state/federal preliminary damage assessment to review the damages. Damages must exceed $3.27 per capita for the county.

Video of Gov. Perdue's April 21 briefing is available here: